The next thing you most likely will notice is the quality of the case. It measures 16.9" W x 17.2" D x 7.2" H (43 cm x 43.6 cm x 18.4 cm). It is an aluminum case and still weighs in at 17.64 lbs (8 kg). The weight is partially due to its size and the thickness of the aluminum used, but also due to the nickel-coated steel support for reinforcement.
The front panel is mostly aluminum, except for the display and some small plastic parts.
The case’s aluminum parts are inlayed into each other to give a better finish and greater strength.
When asked, Silverstone indicated that this was one of the toughest cases to build, and so production was only about 80 per day. This is quite low, given that some vendors crank out thousands of cases per day, and would explain why there are sometimes shortages of the unit.
The drive doors
The optical drive door does a nice job of concealing the standard 5¼" optical drive. It is fully integrated into the front panel and includes a small pushbutton below the door. The button has one major flaw: it can rise above the optical drive’s eject button. This is because it is one of the plastic parts, and is hollow behind the actual case button. This proved to be an issue for the Pioneer Blu-Ray drive we installed.
To solve this issue, Silverstone includes some rubber pads to increase the surface area and allow the button it to press the eject button on the Blu-Ray drive. It did not work, though — the pads popped off easily, and the case eject button would become stuck on the drive eject button. The solution that did work was to take an old case badge — the thick plastic kind with self-adhesive on the back — and cut it to size, then stick it into the hollow space behind the removed eject button. This was an easy fix and worked very well. Silverstone could implement it just by filling in the space behind the button all the way to the end of the part.
There is also a minor issue when the case optical door is open; it blocks the case’s eject button. This means that you will have to gently press the drive itself to close the drive, while some people prefer to use the eject button instead.
The CW03 case has two more 5¼" drive bays below the built-in optical drive. There is a very high quality door covering these, nicely balanced to prevent it from just flopping open. It is made of thick aluminum and is nicely finished, so it really does fit in well with a high-end home theater.
The bay can support not only 5¼" drives but also includes a 3½" adapter made of the same high quality aluminum. This then becomes the ideal place to add front panel connections via either a 5¼" or 3½" bay device. I would suggest the Silverstone FP34 in the matching aluminum so that you can continue the smooth look of your case. The FP34 provides card reading capabilities, 2 USB A, 1 USB mini 5 pin, 1 IEEE-1394 6-pin, 1 IEEE-1394 4-pin, and one each of audio and microphone.
This would be hidden behind the large swing door, but still gives you the ability to read media cards and connect USB and IEEE1394 devices.
The feet on this unit are of high quality aluminum, with large rubber inserts to prevent the case from sliding around. The feet are 2.25" (5.7 cm) in size, and rotate with just slight pressure. There are five feet: four on the corners and one in the middle of the case. This provides a very good feel when the case is placed on any surface — there is little chance that this case is just going to slide onto the floor by accident.
To test the look of this case as a piece of home theater or A/V equipment, I asked five people to look at the Crown CW03 in a home theater setup. They were all immediately impressed with the LCD display. They all asked if it was a touchscreen and started touching the screen. They immediately thought this was a very high-end piece of equipment but did not think it was just a receiver or amp. They knew it was something more.